Film critic Michael Medved, who is paid to watch all kinds of movies, has performed a public service for parents and teenagers who want to avoid getting enmeshed in the polluted culture. He has listed all of the new films that are promoting drug use among teenagers. The films are American Beauty, Never Been Kissed, Eyes Wide Shut, Outside Providence, Dick and Stir of Echoes.
Hollywood sold us a new rating system for television programming because we thought that meant there was going to be a reduction of profanity, violence and sex. Senator Sam Brownback points out that it has actually led to MORE bad programs on TV. The rating system has served as an excuse for Hollywood to pump more garbage into our family rooms. He has threatened hearings into the matter. Now we find out that Hollywood has failed to curtail drug references in their films. Medved?s column about the matter in USA Today was carried under the headline, “Hollywood again makes drug use seem hip, sexy.” He says the Hollywood trend of the last several months is “consistent glorification of illegal drugs.”
The first example is the film, American Beauty, in which the most sympathetic character is a handsome, charismatic drug dealer. When this dealer provides marijuana to one of the central characters in the film, he undergoes a change for the better, becoming confident and smart. The message: drugs make you wiser. In the PG-rated film, Never Been Kissed, a high school character eats brownies laced with hashish, discovers herself in the process, and becomes popular with her classmates. The message: doing drugs makes you cool.
The film Eyes Wide Shut didn?t do to well at the box office, but many went and saw it because popular actor Tom Cruise was one of the stars. He and his wife do a sex scene that occurs after they smoke dope together. The message: drugs make you sexy and virile. In another film, Stir of Echoes, there is a brief reference to the characters smoking dope. In the movie Dick, a satirical look at the Nixon White House. the Nixon character becomes charming after he eats cookies laced with marijuana. The character that is supposed to be Soviet President Brezhnez also eats the cookies and he and Nixon get along together. The message: marijuana breaks down barriers and contributes to world peace.
Michael Medved points out that none of these drug references was necessary or that important to the plot line. He assumes the film makers are straining to show how hip and youthful they are. But that may be a charitable interpretation. It could be that the film makers are drug abusers themselves, and that they could care less if they get young people hooked or destroyed on illegal substances.
Hollywood has been promoting drugs for decades and it will continue to do so. Where is the government in this? If the feds can go after the tobacco industry for affecting the physical health of the country, why can?t they go after Hollywood for poisoning the mental and moral health of our children? Hollywood should not be able to hide behind the first amendment on this one.